Down a dark path, by a haunted house is a ghastly garden filled with spooky plants for Halloween! While not all of them are native to North America, it’s still entertaining to see the sorts of peculiar species that will make your bones rattle.
SPOOKY HALLOWEEN PLANTS
Ghost plant (Monotropa uniflora) is known for its complete lack of chlorophyll. Though it is not commonly encountered, its native range spreads across the U.S. and Canada. However, there are gaps in its range. For instance, ghost plant does not live in the southwest and some parts of the Rocky mountains. It has a waxy, ghostly appearance with one curved stem ending in a single flower.
While not a plant, the octopus stinkhorn (Clathrus archeri) still deserves a place on the list for its creep factor. Devil’s fingers is another name people give this fungus, which can be found nearly anywhere. However, it is originally native to Australia and New Zealand. Octopus stinkhorn seems to erupt from an egg-like structure. It’s long, slender arms have a sinister reddish appearance and slimy spores. Additionally, it has a gross smell that attracts flies and other insects.
The bright and colorful folds of cockscomb (Celosia aregentea) are reminiscent of the wrinkled surface of a brain. The plant prefers full sun and moist, well-drained soil. It will tolerate drier conditions. Cockscomb is widely used in landscaping as well as the cut flower industry. Their large heads bloom in autumn and are great for adding color after summer blooms have gone. Plus, the leaves are edible!
Black Bat Flower
An exotic-looking plant, black bat flower (Tacca chantrieri) has a most unusual appearance. It has spreading bracts (specialized leaves) that look like wings. The seed pods add to the illusion, serving as the face of the bat. Flowers bloom from late spring in early fall with long “whiskers.” As such, tiger beard or cat’s whiskers are other names people attribute to the plant. Black bat flower is native to southeast Asia and Australia, thriving in a tropical climate that moist and warm.
It’s obvious where bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) get their name. The unmistakable, heart-shaped flowers dangle from the stems. Moreover, a drooping petal hangs down, “bleeding” out of the heart. In terms of care, the plant prefers partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. While it is native to Asia, the plant is common across much of the U.S. The early spring blooms are a welcome sight though the heat of summer will put them to rest for the season.
Doll’s Eye (White Baneberry)
With berries that look like clusters of tiny eyeballs, white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda) is known as doll’s eye. What could be worse than its creepy appearance? All part of the plant are poisonous to humans, especially the berries and roots. When ingested, the berries have an almost sedative impact on the human heart. Birds, on the other hand, find them perfectly pleasant! Doll’s eye is native to eastern Canada and the midwestern and eastern U.S.